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Johne Cook
Tech writer/creative writer. Former Overlord, Ray Gun Revival magazine.
Tech writer/creative writer. Former Overlord, Ray Gun Revival magazine.

Johne's posts

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Would you like to see HELLBOY III? del Toro says he'll talk to Perlman and Mignola if he gets 100k votes in 24 hours. We have 18 hours left. Spread the word.
Would you like to see HELLBOY III? del Toro says he'll talk to Perlman and Mignola if he gets 100k votes in 24 hours. We have 18 hours left. Spread the word.

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"President Obama is 3 days from devastating the Internet as we know it.

It's on the verge of disaster. The most powerful tool for free speech, for communication, for spreading the Gospel itself, could be put into the hands of the world's worst dictators.

Sign the Petition Now
The Internet has always been under American control - protected by our Constitution. But on October 1st, President Obama is literally giving away control of the Internet to an organization with multi-national stakeholders.

Let me be very blunt. Once America gives up control of the Internet, there is no reset button. The world's most repressive regimes could gain control, and we could do absolutely nothing about it.

We must do something about it today."

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They just signed the TPP, but the fight's just beginning in earnest.
"But really this ceremony is just a formality. We knew since November, from the day they announced a completed deal and made the text public shortly thereafter, that they would do this. These officials have not been accountable to the public. They have remained steadfast in excluding public participation and ignoring all calls for transparency over the more than five years of TPP negotiations. Because of this opaque process, trade negotiators were able to fill the agreement with Hollywood and Big Tech's wish lists of regulatory policies without having to worry about how they would impact the Internet or people's rights over their digital devices.

But for the TPP to actually go into force, countries need to ratify it. Each of the twelve TPP countries have differing procedures for doing this, but in the U.S., both houses of Congress needs to vote up or down on the agreement. Due to both political reasons and the terms of stipulated by the TPP,1 the agreement cannot go into force without the United States' ratification. That's why it's so critical that people in the U.S. demand congressional accountability over this deal and urge their lawmakers to vote no when the TPP comes before them for approval.

The U.S. Congress is not likely to vote on the TPP implementing legislation (aka ratification) until after the International Trade Commission (ITC) comes out with its report about the agreement's economic impacts in mid-May. At some point after that, the President will submit the implementing legislation to lawmakers. Once that happens, the House has 60 days from the bill's introduction to hold a vote on it and the Senate gets another 30 days, so 90 days in total, to approve or reject it. This second timeline will only begin when the White House is confident that it has the votes lined up for its approval. That's why it's critical to apply constant pressure on lawmakers so that they will turn a cold shoulder to the Executive's plan to pass the TPP."

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"As the U.S. Trade Representative met with other delegates in the backrooms of luxury hotels around the world, lobbyists and corporate advisors were given special access to influence and see the text. Now that we have the completed text, it's obvious that U.S. trade officials have handed Hollywood its wish list of copyright-maximalist policies.

All the rules that uphold corporate interests are binding, while rules that recognize the public's rights are all non-binding.

That means that TPP countries would be obligated to enact restrictive copyright enforcement regulations and policies that enable "digital trade" of information, but not safeguards for our digital rights."

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The TPP is so stupendously bad. There's a list:

"The EFF has analyzed the TPP's impact on digital rights, closely reading the document's many chapters, and has broken down the problems with TPP based on 13 categories: General Audience; Innovators and Business Owners; Libraries, Archives, and Museums; Students; Online Privacy and Digital Security; Website Owners; Gamers; Artists; Journalists and Whistleblowers; People with Sensory Disabilites; Tinkerers and Repairers; Free Software; and Cosplayers and Fans of Anime, Cartoons, or Movies. Which one are you and how will TPP screw you over?

* Fans could face a lawsuit or a criminal prosecution even if the author of the work they used or modified does not care about the activity in question. That means law enforcement can go after fans for derivative works on a “commercial scale” without the author of the original work filing charges."

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"The US spent five years locking its trading partners in smoke-filled rooms with its most rapacious corporate lobbyists, writing a secret trade agreement called the Trans-Pacific Partnership, all the while assuring us all that it would be great when it was done. It's awful.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation's initial analysis of TPP is as terrifying a parade of horribles as you could ask for on Hallowe'en week: it defines copyright as an industrial good subject to the notorious Investor State Dispute Settlement process, which lets corporations sue governments to force them to repeal public interest laws that interfere with their profits.

It also prohibits rules that force tech companies (including companies storing sensitive public data for the government) to keep their data away from the NSA; under these rules, the US government can force all its trading partners to store their sensitive data on US soil, while simultaneously refusing to grant any privacy rights to non-US citizens.

It goes downhill from there..."

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"This is the last 24 hours to do anything to stop CISA, the biggest mass surveillance bill since the Patriot Act. We’re running out of time to save what freedom we have left on the Internet.

Fortunately, we have a plan to get the job done. Recent research shows that the best way to get senators’ attention is by tweeting at them because it holds them publicly accountable — so we built a tool that makes it easier than ever before to rain down a fiery storm of tweets on the Senate.

CISA would, for the first time, create an explicit online data sharing and prosecution agreement between companies and the government. Seven federal agencies and the FBI can use that data for many purposes, including building cases around suspicion of small crimes, like fake id's. The lobbyists behind CISA claim it would help cybersecurity, but this bill isn't written so they only get cyberthreat indicators. This bill is much, much more than just that, and no independent expert thinks it would do anything to make us more secure.

We need about a dozen more senators to understand that CISA is not what they’ve been told by the lobbyists. Some tech companies, like Apple and Twitter, have already begun calling on senators to oppose CISA for privacy reasons, and everyone outside of the D.C. bubble already thinks this is a horrible, privacy-destroying bill. We need to break through the lobbyist buzz and make sure our senators know that CISA is actually going to make the Internet less safe and less secure.

It only takes 10 or so tweets on a topic for a Senate office to notice, and most offices say they factor in tweets when deciding how to vote on bills. Many offices seem to be up in the air on CISA right now, with tech companies and other industries pulling them in opposite directions. If we can show them that their constituents stand solidly against CISA, we have a shot at securing the votes we need to stop this from passing.

Senators want to be able to say they did something for “cybersecurity,” but if they think the Internet is up in arms they won’t want to be on the wrong side. Right now the companies that want immunity have more traction than Internet users who want their privacy respected because of their money and corrupt lobbying practices.  

We hope you’ll stand with us on the right side of history, and help fight this bill before it’s too late."

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"Bad news.

Despite the fact that nearly every major tech company and security expert has come out against it, Congress is still rushing toward a vote on CISA, and the numbers are not looking good. The House Intelligence chief is claiming that CISA will pass “overwhelmingly,” despite the massive public outcry. 

It pains me to say this, but CISA is going to become law unless we go all out right now and every single person getting this does everything in their power to stop it and their phones ring off the hook.

There’s just hours left to have an impact: click here to tell your lawmakers to vote NO on CISA right now."

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CISA (Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act) is up for a vote today or tomorrow. I used this link to send an e-mail voicing my disapproval of CISA and used the automated facility to call my congressmen in WI with my take on the following: "Please oppose CISA, the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act. CISA won't fix the cybersecurity problems we face in the U.S. We need real cybersecurity legislation, and it's not CISA."

For more information, see:
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